Jun 22, 2017

1981 to 2017 63 Learning Centers later!

Ellen and Dona Angelica
Ellen and Dona Angelica

We present this month’s GlobalGiving report in memory of Ellen Maurer who passed into eternity June 11, 2017.  The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners Learning Center network would not be here today had it not been for two dynamic women, Ellen from Verona, Wisconsin and Doña Angélica from Los Cedros, Nicaragua, both women had a vision and worked together to make it happen. Rural Nicaraguan women were desperate for training to develop the skills that would provide meaningful income while enabling them to remain in their communities to care for their families. In 1981, Ellen and Doña Angélica secured resources from Wisconsin and volunteer trainers from Nicaragua to form a sewing center in rural Los Cedros, a small community outside Managua.

Thanks to the cooperative effort of people supporting the Learning Center Program, both with time and resources, the growth continues.  Leonor (a long time Nicaraguan volunteer) recently updated the Learning Center directory including each Learning Center name, location, contact information and current activity.  Today there 63 active Learning Centers and the Learning Center program continues to grow as it follows the “train the trainer” model.   Students become teachers as they share their knowledge and are eager to teach new classes.  Comments from the students:

"It is a practical activity that allows us to improve our economy to support our families. If it is viewed from the emotional side, it helps us to reduce stress."

"We feel great satisfaction by achieving this activity. I hope this work will be shared in every community."

"It was a very nice activity and we will take these ideas to share in our community."

"Thanks to all trainers who spent a their time to get ready each class for this unique workshop activity and share their knowledge in an effective way. I thanked trainers who made it possible to bring knowledge to others."

Learning Center leaders and participants meet the last Saturday of each month, sharing ideas and planning for the future.  Each meeting includes a special class or skill taught by one of the Learning Centers.  For example at the April 2017 meeting, a bamboo basket class was taught by a student from Ulda’s Learning Center and a Mantequilla Flower Craft was led by Ana from the Las Muñecas Learning Center.   Attendance at the meetings are excellent, and the Learning Center members are enthusiastic and eager to continue improving. 

In addition to the monthly meetings, classes are offered throughout the month.  June 1, 2017 a new class of Ribbon Embroidery started at the June Lemke Learning Center, located at the W/NP office in Managua.  We extend our thanks to Petronila for teaching this beautiful skill and to the many people who made donations to make this possible.   

Ellen, train the trainer
Ellen, train the trainer
Embroidery Class
Embroidery Class
June Lemke Learning Center
June Lemke Learning Center
Learning Center Bag Class
Learning Center Bag Class
Ellen and Chicken Project
Ellen and Chicken Project

Links:

Mar 23, 2017

2017 Learning Center Trek

Chepita, left, no more washing others clothes.....
Chepita, left, no more washing others clothes.....

2017 Annual Learning Center Trek

Each year, Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners hosts a travel opportunity for volunteers to see first-hand how the Learning Centers in Nicaragua function and the significant impact made in each community. February 2017 volunteers shared the following workshops during the Learning Center Trek in Managua, Estelí and Diriamba:  Sewing projects;  potholder, backpack, passport/money/phone holder, fabric gift bag, and sewing needle pouch.  Other workshops included hand massage & nail care, paper box and card making, Tai Chi, CPR First Aid information, reading glass distribution as needed, sewing machine and book repair.  The workshops are an opportunity to learn for all involved, building friendships, knowledge and cultural understanding. 

Managua Workshop

86 Representatives were sent by 26 Learning Centers

20 WNP volunteers.

10   Translators.

116 Total

Esteli Workshop

65 Representatives were sent by 3 Learning Centers

20 WNP volunteers.

85 Total

Diriamba Workshop

75 Representatives were sent by 16 Learning Centers

17   WNP volunteers.

92 Total

Following each workshop, participants had the opportunity to share comments.

Marina said, “ The experience was wonderful, since we can teach what we learned today in our Learning Centers.

Estela, San Benito Learning Center commented, “So grateful for learning how to make backpacks, since in my Learning Center a lot of children are in need of a backpack. Now, I am able to teach them.

Hilvia shared, “We are so glad for the learning and knowledge acquired.”

Flavia from Carolina Learning Center, “Thanks to all people involved. Thanks Jasmina for letting us use her Learning Center and especially to our brothers and sisters from WI, USA. Thanks for all the energy that you bring and make us feel that we are not alone.”

Ronald from Diriamba, “Having Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners as an ally is a formidable advantage. Thanks to W/NP we have been operating through 25 years uninterrupted of helping young and elder people. In recognition to the remarkable support we have been receiving through so many years from W/NP; a decision was made to present to the Representatives from WI, USA a craft based on our City Clock, which is well known through the whole country.”

Chepita from Gracias a Dios Learning Center share a very meaningful comment, “This is a chance for me to feel joyful with so many happy faces as can be seen in this room; joyfulness that comes from realizing trainer and trainees can achieve our goal, which is to learn a way to earn living by making crafts, sewing and many other abilities just like we had on this day. It is very important to state that all these achieved goals are possible thanks to Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners down here in Nicaragua and in the USA.  I can tell that through 16 years I have seen many people who do not have to make laundry and ironing for other people, now they can say I work in bakery, sewing and so on. I thank you all partners, God bless you all and hope to see you all next year again.”

In addition to Learning Center workshops, site visits along the way were also part of the itinerary. Villa Japon is one of the more poor communities in which W/NP has a Learning Center that empowers and encourages people to motivate themselves to find a way out of their economic and social situations through classes, workshops and projects facilitated by W/NP Managua Office.  The simple black tank and pump now provides water to 250 homes for the first time.

Another part of the trip includes delivering sewing machines purchased in Nicaragua by donations from W/NP supporters. One the sewing machines went to the Esteli Fire Department upon request.  Firefighters Station Chief Marcio commented, “After all we (firefighters) have witnessed, I do propose to use the building in the back for Learning Center workshops. In the name of the Benemeritus Corp of Firefighters, I thank you all from the W/NP Managua Office and to the Board Members in WI, USA for all the help (donations) sent to help us serve the Nicaraguan people. In addition, I would like to thank you for the needed and vital sewing machine donated to this fire station that we will use to fix and repair some damaged uniforms.

Incorporating international volunteerism into Wisconsin schools has been a priority for Susan, a Spanish teacher from Oak Creek Wisconsin. She has her Spanish Language class students make books (in Spanish) as part of the class curriculum, once books are completed; they are graded and donated to the W/NP lending libraries in Nicaragua.  It's a win/win for everyone! The Learning Center Trek travel group hand carried the books to Nicaragua for distribution during the Learning Center Trek.  Also distributed were the beautiful quiltlets (a quilt with no inside batting), made by Wisconsin Association for Home and Community Education members and other volunteer groups from Wisconsin.

Thank you for your support to the W/NP Learning Center Program and helping women like Chepita provide opportunities for women in Nicaragua to help themselves by learning new skills and have a dignified source of income.

Tai Chi Learning Center workshop
Tai Chi Learning Center workshop
Delivering books made by Oak Creek, WI students
Delivering books made by Oak Creek, WI students
Boys in San Benito learning new skills
Boys in San Benito learning new skills
Fire Station in Esteli receives sewing machine
Fire Station in Esteli receives sewing machine
Villa Japon tank provides water to 250 families
Villa Japon tank provides water to 250 families
Dec 27, 2016

3356 Learning Center Students in 2016!

Hossana Learning Center members performing dancing
Hossana Learning Center members performing dancing

Wow, what a year in review for the Learning Centers in Nicaragua. November 26th 2016 the annual Learning Center (LC) meeting took place at Sagrado Corazon de Jesus LC, San Benito, Nicaragua. The LC host location was 30km away from Managua City, (one way). W/NP Managua staff hired a bus to carry all LC leaders coming from different cities, this way safety and commodities were guaranteed. The annual meeting was attended by 72 people, leaders of LC’s.

  • Welcome speech.
  • Prayer.
  • Cultural performance.
  • Awards by fulfilment, cooperation and attendance.
  • Gifts exchanges.
  • Evaluation.
  • Lunch.

Learning Center’s in attendance: San Antonio de Comunidad San Antonio / Guadalupano del Barrio San Cristobal Managua / Florence y William Nellis de la comunidad de Samaria / Regalo de Dios de Chinandega / Sagrado Corazón de Jesús en San Benito / Gloria Chavarría en colonia Primero de Mayo / Chilamatillo en comunidad Chilamatillo, Tipitapa / Carolina, Managua / San Vicente de Paul / Manos Solidarias- Mina Rosita / June Lenke, Managua / Gracias a Dios – Cedro Galan / San Gabriel Carretera vieja a Leon / Hossana Masaya / Madison Los Cedros ,Managua / Dulce Progreso Tipitapa / Divino Niño de Pantasma.

The meeting was very dynamic and informative. Nicaraguan performances including dancing, flute and singing were part of the meeting, which was enjoyed in full by every attendee.  Estela showed what her students have learned throughout the year:  embroidery, painting and making-dolls, which were taken to a local fair.Awards were given to the most remarkable LC leaders in recognition for their constant hard work to achieve fulfillment, cooperation and attendance to monthly meetings along the year.

Emphasis was made on the new home gardens project that will be piloted at the Gracias a Dios from Cedro Galan and Buenos Aires Learning Centers. Attendees were enthusiastic and hope to join in the garden project as funds are available.  

The following are comments/evaluation from the participants:

  • Vilma stated that 2016 was a fruitful year, she feels satisfied since her knowledge is shared among her students, also Vilma encouraged to multiply the shared knowledge and support the W/NP organization.
  • Josefa thanked God for finding W/NP that has helped so much. Humanity and love can be breathed inside W/NP, besides she feels identified with Estela, leader of Sagrado Corazon LC since she has young and old ladies students as well.
  • Marina thanked W/NP for being the best organization she has worked with. Crafts is a way she found to get a t-shirts and a mixer, which is the best she got for her young and adult students.
  • Marcia stated that there’s no a better organization to be involved and there’s no age to be part of it.
  • Rosa thanked God for sharing two consecutive year in W/NP that has sponsored sewing materials. Our learning center is working with La casa de la Mujer and we are hoping to train more young people from Rosita Mine located in the Caribbean Nicaragua shores.
  • Eraida made several activities with donations sent by W/NP for children of her LC.

The following improvements were identified as taking place in 2016 for the Learing Center Program: 

  • Higher monthly meeting attendance.
  • Better written reports.
  • More sharing of photos of their activities.
  • Maintenance of their LC’s organization.
  • Sewing machines inventories donated by W/NP.
  • Certificates for graduations.
  • INATEC following up for students.

Additional Comments by attendees:

  • We learned new things and the experience was very good.
  • Thanks to all volunteers especially. We have learned a lot and all knowledge gained will be shared with our students in our communities.
  • Thanks W/NP for the lessons and support given to us since it is very useful. God bless you.
  • I’d like to congratulate W/NP for the hard work they do and the way they manage the help we receive; I hope they can continue providing us support the next year.
  • This is the first time I attend this meeting and I found it very interesting. I am planning to return to the organization to learn more.
  • For me it has been a great blessing to participate, these courses are very important to me. Thank you for allowing me to participate.
  • I would like to have this activity in a bigger place to facilitate the final product, also it is important to have enough material.

LC leaders are eager to meet their partners in their own communities to know their work on the making and learn their way to run their LC’s. The annual meeting was concluded with a lunch that was enjoyed by all LC leaders.

Thank you to all the people who have helped to make the Learning Center Program possible, we look forward to your continued support and another great year in 2017!

Special entertainment led by music teacher Wiston
Special entertainment led by music teacher Wiston
Recognition Awards to remarkable LC leaders
Recognition Awards to remarkable LC leaders
Proud students sharing their work
Proud students sharing their work
Proud students sharing their work
Proud students sharing their work
Proud students sharing their work
Proud students sharing their work

Links:

 
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